ALBANY – A man previously convicted of attempted murder in West Virginia admitted Monday he illegally possessed a gun in Amsterdam, U.S. Attorney’s officials said.
Nelson Rodriguez, 39, of Amsterdam, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by a felon, officials said.
He admitted to selling crack cocaine in Amsterdam and to possessing a .25-caliber handgun to protect his drugs and drug proceeds, prosecutors said.
Rodriguez is to be sentenced in the Amsterdam gun case in July. He faces a minimum of five years in prison and a possible maximum term of life. He would not be able to appeal any sentence of 7 years, 9 months or less.
The handgun was discovered under Rodriguez’ mattress as police searched the residence with a warrant in August 2017. The handgun was loaded with nine rounds of ammunition, according to his plea agreement.
Authorities also found six grams of crack cocaine in a jacket pocket in a closet, 40 individually wrapped packages of the drug in a dresser drawer and $2,000 in cash, prosecutors said. Police found the cash in another pocket of the jacket.
Police investigated Rodriguez through that summer. He admitted he distributed the drug from June until August 2017 and conspired with others to do so, according to his plea agreement.
After two sales where he used a co-conspirator, police followed Rodriguez back to his apartment on Park Street in Amsterdam. Police then raided the residence Aug. 3, 2017.
Rodriguez was previously convicted of attempted murder in Berkeley County, W.V. and received 1 to 3 years in prison, according to the plea agreement. In the West Virginia case, Rodriguez was accused of shooting a man in the lower torso with a 9 mm handgun, according to a 2008 report in nearby Hagerstown Herald-Mail. He was arrested in that case in November 2008 in New York City, according to the report.
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